Pest control management is a field of work that identifies, controls and eliminates pests or vermin. When tackling the food industry, the job normally involves speaking to customers about suitable measures of pest control for their business, routine inspections and reporting of any treatments used and eliminating pests.
Food businesses have a legal and moral responsibility to both produce and prepare food that will not harm the consumer. Yet there are many diverse risks posed by pests in the food industry. There is the risk of disease, damage to property and reputation, bad public opinion and prosecution. In extreme cases, even closure of the food premises.
There are three main groups of pests that are typically encountered within the food industry, these are:
- Rodents – Rats and mice.
- Birds – Seagulls and pigeons.
- Insects – Beetles, cockroaches and flies.
The Food Safety Act 1990 and the Food Hygiene Regulations 2005, deem food unsafe if it is considered to be injurious to health or unfit for human consumption. Large food retailers generally have effective pest control programmes that exist to prevent the introduction of pests on food premises and reduce the conditions that encourage the presence of these pests. For smaller businesses though, there are usually more safeguards which can be implemented to ensure full compliance with strict food regulations.
Pest control and management is part of the Good Manufacturing Practices for food businesses. It doesn’t matter if you are responsible for a catering company or a burger van, you should always consider pest control and the impact that it can have on your business. Everything from the construction of the premises through to the design and layout should allow for good food hygiene practices, including adequate pest control.
As the proprietor of food premises, it is vital to demonstrate good practices. If you work with food, always inspect it for evidence of infestation when it is delivered and ensure that stock is easily accessible for inspection at all times. Within the food industry, one of the biggest issues is with how food is stored. Infestation from stored food products is not easily detected and can take hold if the problem is not tackled quickly.
Food waste must also be disposed of in a proper manner to avoid pests. Regular refuse collection will reduce the potential for attracting a large variety of pests such as birds, mice, rats and flies. In the South of the UK, rat infestations are becoming harder to manage due to their resistance to rodenticides.
If you do clear a pest infestation, don’t expect to be free of the issue forever. Pest control is an ongoing process. So you’ll want to make sure that you choose to contract a good pest controller for your needs. Firstly, check if they are a member of the British Pest Control Association, they are a trade association that works with companies to ensure that they comply with legislation and adhere to best practices. You should also ensure that they work to the British Standard EN16636 for pest management and finally check for appropriate insurance cover.
The key to dealing effectively with pest control within the food industry is to identify the issue early on. This means regular monitoring of your business premises for any signs of contamination or infestation.
Ashburnham Insurance provides public liability insurance for pest control, including the use of poisons and pesticide sprays, pest controller services with or without firearms and even working at height. Call us on Freephone 0800 1696137 to find out more.